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DJ Mehdi

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The Creators Project: Are you mostly making music in front of a computer these days?

DJ Mehdi: Yes, I spend a lot of time in front of my laptop, especially since I gave up almost all my outboard gear in favor of producing my songs exclusively on my MacBook. The truth is, it is way more simple and fun to have all my means of production in one place. And when I say “production,” I also include preparing my mixes, writing my emails, posting stuff on my blog, and reading the news. All these things together help keep me busy and, in a way, creative.

Do you think the transition to software-based tools to create music was natural for you considering that both hip-hop and electronic music were heavily gear-based in their early incarnations?

Well, both of the genres I focus on were born out of electronic gear. I mean, there would be no hip-hop, and, naturally, no “electronic music” at all if it wasn’t for electronic equipment. Plus, it’s fair to say that these genres pushed the gear manufacturers forward to broaden the possibilities of what you could do with, say, a sampler or a synthesizer—and I’m talking about 1988, and 1989, way before computers took over. And the opposite is also true: brands like Akai, Roland, E-MU, even Technics influenced these genres in the same way a Gibson Les Paul or a Fender Stratocaster influenced rock ’n’ roll.

Can you give us some specific examples of why you prefer the process of making tracks on your computer?

There’s really nothing crazy interesting about doing music in front of a computer if you’re not the one actually doing it. It’s as boring as watching somebody checking emails. It’s the reason why I don’t like laptop DJs or, even worse, laptop-based “live performances.”

Yeah, I guess you’ve got a good point there. Hopefully the projects you’re currently involved in are a bit more interesting to perform live. What are you up to right now?

I’m starting a new band with British producer Riton that’s all about house music. We’ve been working on it since last June. We’re trying to take it back to those days where dance music was all about shopping for beats in your local record store and partying like there was no tomorrow every Friday night. We’re still looking for a good name for our band, so if you think of one, let us know.

Speaking of looking for things, are you one of these music nerds who spends hours trying to track down the perfect sample for a particular track?

That’s a good question, thank you for asking. First of all, I’ve never been called a music nerd. Samples are everywhere. When is the last time you heard of somebody actually spending hours looking for a sample? Get on iTunes, get on Soulseek, get on LimeWire. Get on YouTube!

Is there a particular technological development or invention you’re especially looking forward to?

I can’t wait for the smokeless cigarette. It will get people back in the clubs.

If you could invent one type of new and seemingly impossible type of technology, what would it be?

Easy question: I badly need a time suspender to make good moments last forever.

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At a glance

Master mixer.

Location: Paris, France
Profession: DJ, producer
Selected discography: Black Billionaires (2010); Red Black & Blue (2009); Lucky Boy At Night (2007); Lucky Boy (2006); (The Story of) Espion (2002)
Notables: "Signatune"; "I am Somebody" (featuring Chromeo); Carte Blanche, co-founder of Club 75, Des friandises pour ta bouche with Kourtrajmé (2005); Mafia K'1 Fry ; Ideal Junior
DJ Mehdi passed away on September the 13th 2011. Rest In Peace.